June 23, 2014

A Look Ahead: ‘Sick’ days are supposed to be used

The first week of March Madness for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is often accompanied with a few “sick” days for the nation’s basketball fans.

With games beginning in the middle of the day, your more dedicated bracket maniacs will skip both Thursday and Friday for the start of the tournament with 32 games being played on Thursday and Friday.

I wonder how many “sick” days area employers are getting during the 2014 World Cup?

Fútbol has never really grabbed a hold on the United States like it has in other countries. One of the reasons, honestly, is because we aren’t that good at it — at least not on the grandest stage. In 1930, the United States was a semifinalist and finished third in the inaugural Cup. Semifinalist sounds good, but only 13 teams played in the event and two group wins for the USA meant a trip to the semifinals.

But with the diversity of the area and the huge amount of interest in the sport here, you have to wonder how many call-ins will be on the employee ledger this week with trips out of group play on the line.

Now, for USA fans, Thursday is definitely a “sick” day with the United States taking on Germany for the top spot in the group. And let me be clear on USA soccer fans — they are the ones who actually know all of the names of the players on the USA team. That number of fans is equivalent to about .009 percent of the United States population.

Don’t get mad rabid USA soccer fan. You know I am just telling the truth.

But there are a ton of educated soccer fans in the area, and even though Thursday’s game with the U.S. and Germany may not be their cup of tea, there are lots of games left with tons on implications which get even more meaningful as the games continue.

One thing that we here at the paper are excited about is that there seems to be quite a few area residents who are enjoying the Copa in Brazil. We look forward to sharing their stories when they return from the World Cup. If you happen to know anyone who is enjoying the festivities, please let us know how to get in touch with them by emailing the information to

• LOOKOUT NORTH GEORGIA: The Chattanooga Lookouts begin a 10-day homestand on Tuesday, hosting the Pensacola (Fla.) Blue Wahoos and the Birmingham (Ala.) Barons in a pair of five-game sets. The Barons, you may remember, were once the club of Michael Jordan when he took his sabbatical from the sport of basketball to play professional baseball.

During this 10-game stretch, there are several promotions of which to take advantage, including fireworks on Friday night and the return of North Georgia night on Saturday. Also on Friday, Myron Noodleman will be appearing at AT&T Field. Noodleman now carries the moniker of the late, great Max Patkin as “The Clown Prince of Baseball.”

As a child, I once saw Patkin in Savannah’s Grayson Stadium during an old Savannah Braves game. He later went on to have a featured role in the baseball classic Bull Durham, and I still have fond memories of trips to the old stadium in Savannah to see Patkin and the San Diego Chicken and to watch a little baseball too.

For more information, visit

As highlighted in our “Fairways and Greens” column earlier in the week, several area golfers are competing in events across the state this week. To keep up with real-time scoring, visit

Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Contact him at, and follow him on Twitter at @cwhitfi7.

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